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  • Next Step Proposal: Maker Portfolios

    By Daragh Byrne Thursday January 2015, 00:36 UTC

    About this Proposal

    On December 3rd 2014, a group of signatory schools who supported 'Fostering a Generation of Makers' White House Maker Faire campaign gathered in Washington DC to discuss next steps. This generated incredible ideas and insight as we moved another step forward in defining a Maker Alliance Network for higher education institutions. Four work streams were created to explore possible next steps for the Alliance: the development of online resources; the preparation of a maker portfolio initiative, the development of increased funding for Maker opportunities, and promotion and advocacy for Making in higher education.

    Below you will find one of the four next step proposals prepared by our workstream committees. We invite your feedback, as well as any additions or alternative approaches you might suggest. You are also welcome to indicate your interest in volunteering to work on this committee.

    Finally, we also welcome new ideas for next steps. To contribute additional proposals, add a new topic to the 'Next Steps' discussion forum on MakeSchools.org.

    Please share any feedback no later than March 1, 2015.

    Maker Portfolios

    Problem Statement

    There isn't a formal way to recognize and assess maker projects as a proven demonstration of their Maker's skills. Such an assessment method must be fair, transparent, and rigorous yet be simple enough to perform in order for it to be practically implemented. Furthermore, any assessment method must consider the qualifications of the assessor and must ensure that the work demonstrated was indeed performed by the individual and is a measure of own their skills.


    Developing a means of assessment could enable colleges to consider it as part of their admissions process, opening a new pathway for students to prove their potential in STEAM careers. If colleges accept assessed maker portfolios as part of their application process, prospective students will recognize Making as a means for furthering their careers and thereby Making will have an increased perceived value, aiding to spread the Making movement and its overall benefits further.

    Proposal / Solution

    Develop a means of assessing Maker portfolios at both a local and a collegiate level. Local organizations may award recognition/certification in certain skills which could be an indication of skill level when communicating with fellow Makers. This could extend to on-line communities and could dovetail with the Maker Hive proposal.

    Using the same rubric, college representatives could assess Maker portfolios at Maker Faires or other similar events, potentially awarding certifications from their school. Then similar to the way colleges currently accept transfer credit from peer institutions, especially for lower level courses, colleges may accept other schools' Maker portfolio certifications in their own application process.

    Next Steps

    The initial step will be to determine a list of criteria to measure Maker Portfolios on. This will be followed by development of objective rubrics to measure the criteria. This work will also implementation guidelines and means of ensuring that the rubric will equally serve underrepresented/underserved communities such as including a measure of what was achieved with what resources.

    There may also be an opportunity add additional reward mechanisms from Maker focused industries as well as integrate this effort with the MakerSchools.org community potentially enabling Makers to thank fellow Makers for useful advice and elevate their recognition and rewards in the community.

    In pursuing this endeavor, the work and related efforts already in development from fellow members of the Higher Education Maker Alliance will be examined closely along with the efforts of similar proven endeavors such as the Maker Education Initiatives Maker Portfolio work, the USDA's "badges" work for 4-H, and the judging criteria of the Intel-Cornell Cup.

    Workstream Committee:

    • Ian Charnas, Case Western Reserve University
    • Alan Cheville, Bucknell University
    • Mike Degraff, University of Texas at Austin
    • Jimmy Gandhi, California State University, Northridge
    • Crystal Hall, Carnegie Mellon University
    • Kimberly Hughes, University of Texas at Austin
    • Robert Knotts, Georgia Institute of Technology
    • Vahid Montevalli, Tennessee Tech University
    • Brian O'Connell, Tufts University
    • Taskin Padir, Worcester Polytechnic Institute
    • John Rieffel, Union College
    • David Schneider, Cornell University
    • Ed Tacket, University of California Irvine
    • Margot Vigeant, Bucknell University

    Related Resources

    • http://makered.org/open-portfolios-the-importance-of-portfolios-for-makers/
    • http://makered.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/OPP_ResearchBrief2_The-Importance-Of-Portfolios-For-Makers.pdf
    • http://www.hackster.io

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